SOULGATE N14 — THE GATHERING!
Hard to believe that it’s 1 year since we were all gathered together to say our last goodbyes to our dear friend, Randy Cozens, but here we were, once again gathering to celebrate the life, music and ideals of ‘a good friend of ours’.
‘Ye Olde Rising Sun’ was once again the venue that would play host, as it has done almost exclusively for the past 18+ years, to the alldayer that is simpley known as SOULGATE and by 12pm on Saturday afternoon the decks and sound system were in place, the DJ’s were beginning to gather, the pub staff were bracing themselves for the onslaught to come and the doors were thrown open to the best soul event in North London.
Throughout the day the venue saw a steady stream of Soulies coming to pay their respects and share their memories of Randy and dance to some truly great music from across the eras and across all styles — stompers rubbed shoulders with shufflers, 2-steppers and deep deep soul. The usual eclectic mix that has been the trademark of all SOULGATE’s and that strangely works to help create that unique vibe the event has.
Myself and Trickster (whose lovely and long suffering wife was also in attendance) drew the short straw and were first on. The man with the nifty appreciation of all things 1950’s did a great job mixing classic Northern from recent years with forgotten oldies and got the alldayer off to a great start. I was on next, spinning a mixture of 60’s-Y2K, but was given the usual treatment from those reprobates from Letchworth I begrudgingly call my friends — namely constant heckling and questions being asked about my sexuality! Despite all this I carried on, with my 2 young boys watching on at this their first experience of daddies rare soul world (poor sods!) and then made way for ‘The Ladies Choice’ Taffy.
At this stage I thought now was the best time to drop the kids off at my brothers and save them from Taffy’s selection J and so I missed out on around 2hrs worth but returned with my lovely wife Jane at just after 4.30pm to find the venue buzzing and a good sized crowd in residence.
Jo Wallace, Buey, Johnny Timlin, Tony Smith and the Master that is Terry Jones were doing the honours to an appreciative audience that included, amongst the faithful, such faces as Terry and Paul Cozens, Tim Brown, Keb Darge and Ady C, who was due on later. All did a great job but I must single out Jo for special mention with a great set of those beloved West Hampstead toons that had many of us trying to get a cardiac arrest out on the floor. 6T’s Rhythm ‘N’ Soul never sounded better and I for one was one happy, now very sweaty, punter! Top work and she’s a girl as well — go figure J
With the evening session came the arrival of those 3 stalwarts of SOULGATE, Roger Stewart, Taffy and the quite cuddly these days Ady C and they didn’t fail to deliver. The dance floor saw heavy action, the atmosphere was as great as always and the place was rocking! Before he came on for the last hour with Ady, Taffy could be found putting his new moves learnt at Spearmint Rhino to good use on top of the table outside the pub. Let’s just say that it was an experience to behold!!!
As mentioned Taffy and Ady finished the day off with a last hour of just great great music and SOULGATE classics, each playing 3 records every time, that included the Tyrell Corporation ‘6 0-Clock’; Futures ‘Party Time Man’, Majestics ‘I love her so much it hurts’, Archie Bell ‘Where you gonna go when the partys over’ and of course the track that is fast becoming synonymous with Randy, Bobby Kline ‘Say something nice to me’.
Midnight came around all too soon and the guys ended with 2 blinders. The anthemic Arthur Alexander ‘I need you’, which saw many with a tear in their eyes as memories came flooding back and ended with Jimmy Radcliffe ‘Long after tonight is all over’ which saw Taffy and Ady joined by myself, Terry and Paul, Tony Smith on the decks and a massed choir of Soulgate regulars belting out the lyrics at the top of our lungs. If the great man was looking down, as I am sure he was, he couldn’t fail to have had a huge smile on his face (and more than likely his shirt off and standing aloft a table joining in.)
It was left to Randy’s youngest, Terry, to thank everyone and say the goodbyes and before we knew it another SOULGATE had come to an end and the crowd set off into the cold night air, a little damp, a little tired but full of happiness and pride at what was another great alldayer in N14 and a fitting tribute to one of the areas finest sons. Roll on SOULGATE 2005!
* I would like to extend my thanks to everyone who attended this years event and who helped to make it a success but I would like to pass on a well deserved pat on the back to Taffy and to Terry & Paul, without whom this event would simply not have happened. They are a credit to Randy’s memory and something tells me the legacy of Rare Soul in N14 isn’t over yet. Well done lads, it IS appreciated. Photos will be posted later but be very very AFRAID!!!
Aplogises to those DJs I didnt mention above, I was so busy groovin and chatting that I didnt get everyones names but know that you are loved and appreciated by everyone and I am sure someone will put my omissions right.